Sometimes the demands on us are more than we can bear. Several times I have been faced with what looked and felt like insurmountable obstacles. My son, Alex, began to crawl when he was six months old. He became quite proficient at getting around over the next two weeks. We wanted to foster his curiosity so we rarely had him in a play pen.
One day, with four adults in the house, each assuming someone someone else had an eye on him, he crawled in to a bucket half filled with dirty mop water. He was so small, that his weight could not tip the bucket over to free him. By the time he was found, he was blue. The color of stone washed jeans. Lifeless as a limp rag with no breath in him.
His father began by dumping water out of his lungs. First one cup, then another. He began mouth to mouth and our house guest did CPR. After dumping yet more water out of him and receiving a good slap, he began to cry. But he was still far from safe.
We lived in the West African country of Senegal at the time. Alex’s place of birth. 911 did not exist. I was desperate to do something. I called the closest equivalent, to no avail. I called the American mission school to ask for prayer. It was the end of the school day with parents collecting their children. They called people together and held an emergency prayer meeting for Alex. A little bit of peace and a little bit of wisdom began to prevail.
We climbed in our car to battle afternoon traffic in order to get him to the pediatrician’s house.
As soon as the Doctor saw him he new he was semi-comatose and we needed to get him to the clinic. The private clinic was much safer than the hospital.
After 16 hours of being semi-comatose, Alex woke up, and was soon pulling himself up to standing in the crib! When the doctor came in that morning, he was amazed to see Alex’s recovery. But it did not last. He soon began to spike a fever, in spite of the antibiotics he was on to prevent infection from dirty water.
At this point, we began to elicit prayer from the international network of out sending agency. I have documented prayer for Alex at that time was coming from five continents. His fever continued to spike to 105F over the next few days. With his life in the balance, it became apparent that he needed to be evacuated to France for the best care.
In France, they ran an optical wire into his lung and found a small piece of our kitchen sponge lodged in his right lung! Fortunately the optical wire also had a suction and they were able to extract the foreign matter that was causing the infection. Everything the wire touched on the way in, bled. They were expecting massive scaring in his lung. A follow up three weeks later proved that God has healed his lung completely. There was no scaring at all! More than a couple doctors I have shared that story with have had goose bumps as they recognized the hand of God at work.
Today Alex is an army officer. He is healthy. As a friend of ours said when they met Alex several months after the accident; “There’s no fuzz on his brain!” He is smart. He suffered no brain damage from the drowning.
Alex does not remember any of this, aside from my telling of it. The image above, however, does a decent job of showing how I felt at times over those weeks. Questions of God’s goodness and care came at me repeatedly, but each time God reached down to me and buoyed me up, just as He saved and cured Alex. I learned a lot about God and his followers through those weeks. Most all of the lessons were good. I hope to share some of them elsewhere another day.
For today, perhaps the deepest lesson I learned at that time was the intimate presence of the Creator in the midst of pain and confusion. This story has a very happy ending! There have been other stories in my life that have taken tragic bents. I specifically did not use the word ending, because even in tragedy, Abba can work miracles, of a different sort, into my life, and yours.
Sometimes we see the good quickly. Other times we need to step back and let time and love, from friends and from God, help us gain His perspective. It is a sort of “re-framing.” Like being too close to see what it is really all about. The re-framing often allows to learn things about ourselves and about God that we might not grasp in the midst of the events.
Where are you right now? A good, easy place in life? Or a difficult or even tragic place? You may not even be able to see God in it right now, but seek God. Cry out! Let Him and His children hold you up until you can see how God is present.